Cinco De Mayo is tomorrow, which means you better have a plan if you're hoping to head out to celebrate. On the holiday our city transforms into one big enchilada-eating, margarita-chugging party.
Although sometimes confused with Mexico's Independence Day, Cinco De Mayo actually celebrates Mexico winning the Battle of Puebla against the French on May 5th, 1862. Here in the States, Cinco De Mayo has matured into a day celebrating Mexican culture and heritage – and for many, it's also an acceptable excuse to get sloshed. Oktoberfest, Cinco De Mayo and St. Patricks Day all have a reserved space in our hearts, stomachs and livers.
To make things easier, we've rounded up a list of places around town where you can celebrate this year:
El Cholo: This Santa Monica restaurant gets packed every Cinco De Mayo. To accommodate the high volume of people, the restaurant will be clearing out the couches and tables in the bar area to make room for a stand up bar. To manage the influx of drinkers, bouncers will be manning the doors this Wednesday to check ids for drinkers heading to the bar while a special surprise mariachi band will make rounds to add to the merriness. The restaurant will be serving their popular house margaritas and green corn tamales until close.
El Cholo: 1025 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 899-1106.
Loteria Grill: The party starts on May 4th and runs through lunch and dinner on May 5th. Be prepared for live music and going along with their theme of Mexican street food, the restaurant will have a selection of special appetizers including empanadas made with corn masa to celebrate. In addition, the bar will be serving up three special drinks not on the regular menu: a cucumber margarita, a beet and orange margarita and an apple paloma. Not to be overshadowed, we suspect many shredded beef tacos and spicy jalapeño margaritas will be consumed over the two day celebration.
Loteria Grill Hollywood: 6627 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 465-2500.
El Compadre: Besides being the home to the flaming margarita, this restaurant is known for staying open late in Hollywood. If you come with a group, we recommend getting the appetizer platter, which boasts a healthy amount of grilled shrimp, chimichangas, quesadillas and carne asada. With a great vibe and strong drinks, this spot will be serving their full menu until 2 a.m. to a large crowd.
El Compadre: 7408 West Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 874-7924.
Border Grill: This year the Santa Monica restaurant will be extending their regular happy hour (usually from 4-7 p.m.) – how extended? all day – which means from 11a.m. – 10p.m. the bar and cantina will be serving 5 dollar drinks, 3 dollar tacos, 5 dollar appetizers, chili poppers and desserts. Their popular appetizers including their green corn tamales, queso fundido and vegetarian enchiladas will be sliding out of the kitchen and into hungry mouths all day. The restaurant only takes reservations for the dining room so if you plan to take advantage of the all-day happy hour, make sure to beat the work crowd that comes in at 6.
Border Grill: 1445 4th Street, Santa Monica; (310) 451-1655.
Pacos Tacos: This Culver City favorite gets packed every day of the week so be prepared for an even bigger crowd this Wednesday. Fast service is one of their greatest charms along with their popular #6 taco and enchilada plate. Enjoy your Cadillac and Mango margarita while you pick out the laziest fish in the tanks against the festive decorations that fill the restaurant 365 days a year.
Pacos Tacos: 4141 South Centinela Avenue, Marina Del Rey/Venice; (310) 391-9616.
El Abajeño: A lunch or an early dinner might be best as this restaurant closes at 8:30 p.m. on weekdays. This cafeteria-style restaurant serves beer and melt in your mouth chicken taquitos with sliced avocados. For those who boast a bottomless stomach or are on a budget, Abajeno is known for their giant burrito, made with two enormous tortillas.
El Abajeño: 4513 Inglewood Blvd., Culver City; (310) 390-0755.
Gilbert's El Indio: With a friendly staff, this restaurant is all good vibes and has a loyal base of regulars. The restaurant will be serving their regular menu including their generous burritos and strong margaritas to regulars and newbies alike.
Gilbert's El Indio Restaurant: 2526 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 450-8057.
La Golondrina Mexican Cafe: Located on Olvera Street, this restaurant will also be serving their regular menu along with a selection of special dishes. Known for their Mole and the charming building, the restaurant is a favorite for those who visit Olvera St. regularly or for the first time.
La Golondrina Mexican Cafe: 17 Olvera St., Los Angeles; (213) 628-4349.
La Cabana: Feeding hungry Westsiders after last call since 1963, this Venice restaurant is open late until 3 a.m. every night. So why not start and end the party with the spot that has been good to many a drunk Angeleno.
La Cabana: 738 Rose Ave, Venice; (310) 392-6161.
Las Perlas: If you've already planned dinner and are looking for a place to hit after dinner, the newly opened mescal and tequila bar may be what you're looking for. With fresh ingredients and inventive recipes, Cedd Moses' Las Perlas is slowly gaining a following for those looking for something different from the standard margarita. The Poblano Escobar made with Sombra mescal, chiles, and pineapple is a favorite for many along with several other unique concoctions.
Las Perlas: 107 East Sixth Street, at Main Street, Downtown; (213) 988-8355.
Copa D'Oro: Looking for drinks in Santa Monica after dinner? Certainly not a Mexican restaurant, but a maker of strong drinks for the thirsty, Mixologist Vincenzo Marianella makes sure customers looking for their favorite combination explore their options. His hand-crafted cocktails uses fresh ingredients from the farmers market, including fresh fruit, herbs and organic juices. Can't find what you're looking for on the menu? No worries, you can tailor your own cocktail here with any of their ingredients.
Copa D'Oro: 217 Broadway, Santa Monica; 310-576-3030,
El Carmen: If its people watching and tequila you want – El Carmen hits the spot with its fun Mexican wrestling theme. Intimate, with just enough elbow space to make new friends – this spot is a good choice for those hoping to celebrate the fifth of May with over 300 kinds of tequila at the bar.
El Carmen: 8138 West Third Street, West Hollywood; (323) 852-1552.
Malo: This Silver Lake restaurant is famous for its chewy chips and ground beef pickle tacos. With its hipster crowd and its dedication to potent drinks, this restaurant will most likely be an overwhelming choice for Silver Lake locals who hope to celebrate the fifth of May with style. In the case of Malo, bad definitely means good.
Malo: 4326 W Sunset Blvd, Silver Lake; (323) 664-1011.
El Conquistador: A festive atmosphere ensures this Silver Lake restaurant will be a party for those that stop by Wednesday night. Full of energy, friendly service and strong margaritas, this place is loud, in a good way.
El Conquistador: 3701 W Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; (323) 666-5136.